A first-half goal by Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus was enough to carry last season’s runners-up past Bayer Leverkusen in their Bundesliga opener on Saturday but their winning start was overshadowed by an injury to new signing Karim Adeyemi.
It was also a victorious return for Dortmund coach Edin Terzic, back on the bench after 15 months following his first stint as an interim coach in 2021.
“We did not start really well, lost possession a few times but recovered well. They were better after the break but we defend our lead well,” said Terzic, who coached for the first time in the Bundesliga in front of fans.
“Sometimes it’s not possible to score more than one and you have to protect that clean sheet instead.”
Adeyemi’s injury that eventually forced him off in the 23rd minute was the latest to a new signing, as Dortmund are already without defender Niklas Suele, nursing a thigh injury, and forward Sebastien Haller, out for months following the discovery of a malignant testicular tumour.
Adeyemi thought he had scored when he turned a Youssoufa Moukoko cutback toward goal in the 10th minute but the ball was kept on the line by Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky before Reus stabbed it over for the lead.
Minutes later, Germany forward Adeyemi was taken off following a knock on his foot earlier in the game.
“He tried to play on but it was not possible,” Terzic said. “We have to wait until tomorrow to have a clear diagnosis.”
Leverkusen, third last season, had their share of chances and were it not for Mo Dahoud’s perfectly timed sliding tackle in the 42nd minute, Patrik Schick would have had the chance to level.
Dortmund came close after the break with Hradecky denying Thorgan Hazard in the 50th before Schick responded with a pair of chances of his own and two good saves from Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel.
It was a much-improved performance by Leverkusen following last week’s shock German Cup first-round exit to third division’s Elversberg but it was spoilt when Hradecky was sent off for holding the ball with his hands outside the box late in the game.
After the end of the game, fans were told to remain in their seats due to a suspect car with a running motor found outside the stadium. Police investigated the vehicle and gave the all-clear 20 minutes later.
Elsewhere on Saturday, USA forward Jordan Pefok scored on his Bundesliga debut to help Union Berlin defeat Hertha Berlin 3-1.
Pefok, who also scored on his debut in the German Cup on Monday, opened the scoring in the 31st minute to set Union on their way to a third consecutive league win over their rivals.
Sheraldo Becker and Robin Knoche also scored to ensure Hertha’s difficult start to the season continued after their German Cup exit to second-division Eintracht Braunschweig last weekend.
Cup finalists Freiburg routed Augsburg 4-0 away, Borussia Monchengladbach defeated visiting Hoffenheim 3-1, Wolfsburg drew with promoted Werder Bremen 2-2, and Mainz won 2-1 in Bochum.
Ten-time defending champions Bayern Munich started the season with a 6-1 rout of Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday.